What is the definition of a "Hand-built" Cord?

  • Bill Hummel
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21 Apr 2004 21:36 #1617 by Bill Hummel
Bill Hummel created the topic: What is the definition of a "Hand-built" Cord?
In another message thread, Stan and Josh keep referring to "hand-built" Cords.

Weren't they all hand-built? They certainly didn't have robotic tools and sophisticated automated machinery making the cars!

So what's makes one Cord hand-built and another ... what? factory-built, assembly-line built?

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21 Apr 2004 23:48 #1619 by Mike Dube
Mike Dube replied the topic:
The "hand built" term refers to the first lot of cars (100 I believe) that had to be assembled for new Cord to be eligible for the 1936 Auto show season. They had to rush to get these things done in time, entailing much more handwork than the production cars required. For the sake of trying to stimulate the economy, FDR moved the first show it up from January 1936 to November of '35, which really put them under the gun. As a result, a few cars were less than complete, as in missing transmissions.

Mike

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  • Josh Malks
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22 Apr 2004 15:33 #1622 by Josh Malks
Josh Malks replied the topic: Handbuilts
The first 100 or so Cords were built over a period of several months. Only a small number were finished by the time of the auto shows in November. They rest were completed thru February of 1936. They were assembled mostly from stampings provided by the suppliers of the dies, as part of the contract. Few parts were handmade or pounded out with power hammers as has been written in some places. But the jigs in which they were held for welding were temporary, and the dies had not been finally refined, and some mounting holes were still being cut on individual pieces, so parts sometimes had to be tweaked while each car was being assembled. That's why a fender for one "handbuilt" may not exactly fit another, or a production car.

Bill is correct that all Cords had more hand work in them than many other production cars. That's why I prefer the term "showcar" to describe those first pre-production cars, but "handbuilt" is pretty much the standard appellation now.

Josh B. Malks
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Check out CORD COMPLETE at www.cordcomplete.com

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  • Bill Hummel
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22 Apr 2004 16:13 #1623 by Bill Hummel
Bill Hummel replied the topic: Re: Handbuilts

Josh Malks wrote: The first 100 or so Cords were built over a period of several months. I prefer the term "showcar" to describe those first pre-production cars.


All things being equal, is one of the showcars more valuable than a production car?

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  • Auburn/Cord Parts
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22 Apr 2004 19:41 #1626 by Auburn/Cord Parts
Auburn/Cord Parts replied the topic: "Handbuilt" Cords
Bill-

I agree with you that virtually all late Cords were not assembled like production cars. The term "handbuilt" as answered by Mike Dube is correct and these are not to be confused with the name "prototype" which were the first few cars built. These were mainly built as test vehicles for mechanical or body features. Only about 5 or 6 were fabricated as prototypes. My research indicates that the Auto Mfg. Association required 100 cars built to be recognized as a bonified manufacturer. By the time all of the details were worked out, the Auto Mfg. Association loosened their grip as the Cord was merely a new model by the Auburn Automobile Co., whom they recognized, and Cord was not an independent make. The handbuilt Cords used parts made by individual workers and had to have their numbers kept track of as one part might not fit another.

Stan

Auburn/Cord Parts, Inc. P.O. Box 547 1400 N. "A" St. Wellington, KS 67152 (620) 326-7751 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • balinwire
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22 Apr 2004 19:56 #1627 by balinwire
balinwire replied the topic: first 100
There was a recent newsletter that had some pictures and a description of the differences. Mostly in the door window profiles and I think the show open cars were buried in a levee!

tomscord is building a fabulous sedan, #18 I believe and it is the oldest know example remaining, I think. If a comparison could be considered, the oldest corvette known is appx. #5 and I know it is worth a considerable + premium. The last Camero was sold for a premium.

Considering how much more effort with the metal work, front splashes and the dash differences I would double a show cars value but the value is in what someone is willing to pay also. Some may want a production car as the parts were more uniform.

There were so few (appx 3000 total limited production) of the 810 +12 made I would consider all of them hand built cars and the first 100, hysterically hand built show cars for the 36 show deadline that was unachievable except for the dedicated Auburn staff, do you think the unions today would allow there member assemblers and drafting staff work 24 hours a day and sleep at there desks to meet the deadline?

Possibly an exaggeration but the staff was dedicated to meet the deadline possibly due to the horrible depression then and just glad to have a two-dollar a day job. I would love one of the surviving 100 but I love a challenge. How many of the 100 still remain?

balin?

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